A router is a device for creating a local network. Therefore, his choice should be based on exactly which LAN is needed and where it will be located.
How to choose a router: what to look for
When choosing a router, it is advisable to take into account the following characteristics:
Type of internet connection;
Internet connection speed;
Speed of data exchange in a local network;
Frequency and standard of a wireless network;
But at the same time, modern routers are such that for most non-special scenarios - for example, for an apartment, house or office - absolutely anyone will do.
Type of internet connection
This parameter determines whether the router can connect to the Internet network according to the standard that is used in the house, apartment, office or in the country. Routers are usually equipped with one of three connection types:
WAN (PPPoE, local area networks with static or dynamic IP, etc.). The most common connection standard. The network cable on these types of connections is regular Ethernet;
ADSL is still a common connection standard in some regions. The Internet and the phone are on the same cable line, and for their simultaneous use you need a device called a "splitter". ADSL routers are equipped with a special connector and a built-in modem;
4G - mobile Internet. A good solution for a summer residence. Routers designed to work on this network are equipped with a SIM card tray and are sometimes performed in a mobile configuration with a built-in battery.
These standards are not interchangeable, so it’s very important to choose a router compatible with your Internet connection.
This parameter means the maximum theoretical speed with which the router can send data to the Internet and download it from there. Its actual value also depends on the characteristics of the network used by the equipment provider and the user tariff. The Internet connection speed is determined by the performance of the network card built into the router and may be as follows:
Up to 10 Mbps - for early generation ADSL networks;
Up to 100 Mbps - for early generation PPPoE networks;
Up to 1 Gbit / s - for modern PPPoE networks, including fiber optics.
Connection speed is limited both up and down. That is, if you use a 100 Mbit / s router on gigabit networks, then the maximum data transfer rate will be the same 100 Mbit / s. Similarly, if you use a gigabit router on 100-megabit networks, then the maximum data transfer rate will be 100 Mbps.
It is important to choose a router whose connection speed corresponds to the network speed. Or you can buy just 100-megabyte (for undemanding users) or gigabit.
LAN data rate
This parameter determines the speed at which devices connected to the router will receive data - both from the Internet and from the local network. Theoretically, the higher it is, the better. However, even 300-megabit routers are perfect for a home.
The most common data rate standards:
100 Mbps - at the cheapest and slowest routers;
300 Mbps - for budget models for home, apartment and office;
1000 Mbps - for premium models;
More than 1000 Mbit / s - for special models that are designed to work in high-speed local wireless networks.
It is worth remembering that the frequency range 2.4 GHz, which is used in most routers, provides a speed of no more than 1 Gbit / s. But if you need a large one, it is recommended to purchase a router with 5 GHz.
Frequency and wireless standard
Frequency is the range over which a wireless network broadcasts. The most common are 2.4 GHz routers, but 5 GHz models are also regularly found. Signal density depends on the frequency if the "ability" to "ignore" obstacles, as well as the maximum data rate.
5 GHz routers are most suitable for purchase. However, not all end devices (smartphones, tablets, laptops, etc.) are able to connect to such a wireless network. But 2.4 GHz networks are "universal" - almost all end devices work with them.
Advantages and disadvantages of 2.4 GHz routers
Wide compatibility with end devices;
Due to the large number of routers, especially in apartment buildings, channel clogging can be observed with a garbage signal;
Other signals, such as those from a wireless mouse, may also propagate through the 2.4 GHz channel, resulting in additional interference.
Walls and other objects create obstacles that can drown out the signal;
ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF 5 GHZ ROUTERS
Signal more resistant to obstacles;
Wider coverage with the same antenna power of the router;
Less junk due to the small number of such routers;
A limited number of compatible devices;
A sufficient solution for the home will be 2.4 GHz, the optimal one is dual-band, which supports both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz.
In addition to the range, Wi-Fi wireless networks also differ in the broadcast standard. These are technical hardware and software specifications that determine the compatibility and speed of data transmission over the air. There are five common Wi-Fi standards:
Unfortunately, they are not cross-compatible. However, many router models support broadcasting in several standards at once. If the house does not have devices that work exclusively on 802.11a or 802.11ac, then it is advisable to take a router that supports the 802.11b / g / n standard - it can broadcast in all three of these standards at the same time, which ensures maximum compatibility with end devices.
You can check which Wi-Fi standard is supported by a computer or phone from the list of characteristics of this device. For example, the Realtek RTL8723BS mobile module, which is used on some Windows tablets, supports Wi-Fi 802.11b, Wi-Fi 802.11g and Wi-Fi 802.11n, but only 2.4 GHz. That is, it will not connect to 5 GHz or to a Wi-Fi 802.11a network.
The higher the power (and at the same time the number) of antennas - the wider the range of the wireless network created by the router. But at the same time, it also leads to an increase in the price of the router.
Antenna power is measured in decibels. Most budget routers are equipped with 2-3 dB antennas, which is enough to cover a small apartment. More powerful models are designed for 5-7 dB.
Even more powerful routers are designed for use in offices, large industrial premises, etc. It is not advisable to purchase them at home.
A router can perform not only the main function, but also a number of additional ones:
Media center, file server. In this case, the drive - a USB flash drive or an external hard drive - is connected via USB, and data on it can be accessed from almost any device entering the wireless network;
Torrent client. Files are downloaded to the connected drive;
Print server. A compatible printer is plugged into the USB port of the router and becomes "network";
Connect to 4G mobile networks. The modem can be built-in or connected via USB.
In most cases, these functions make the device more expensive, so it makes sense to purchase a router with them if you really need to.
Among the manufacturers of routers for the home and small office, the following companies can be distinguished - TP-Link, Asus and Huawei.
TP-Link produces fairly inexpensive routers with good technical characteristics and capabilities. Top models that offer maximum features, of course, are worth a lot.
Asus and Huawei products are slightly more expensive than TP-Link, although it offers the same feature set. However, it is more reliable and often attractive in design.
In the following articles, our experts tell how to choose a router for home and office, and the secrets of choosing an ischemic heart disease.
Attention! This material is the subjective opinion of the authors of the project and is not a guide to the purchase.